Friday, May 30, 2008

I've been thinking about the foodways and agricultural practices of indigenous people, how they are being damaged and destroyed and how that directly impacts the health of these dynamic cultures. What about our habits of producing food is threatening the dynamic "ethnosphere" that makes up our world?

Wade Davis, anthropologist and ethnobotanist talks about the cultural and spiritual web of life.

Taken from an interview with the National Geographic, May 2003
Just as there is a biological web of life, there is also a cultural and spiritual web of life—what we at the National Geographic have taken to calling the "ethnosphere." It's really the sum total of all the thoughts, beliefs, myths, and institutions brought into being by the human imagination. It is humanity's greatest legacy, embodying everything we have produced as a curious and amazingly adaptive species. The ethnosphere is as vital to our collective well-being as the biosphere. And just as the biosphere is being eroded, so is the ethnosphere—if anything, at a far greater rate.

Some people say: "What does it matter if these cultures fade away." The answer is simple. When asked the meaning of being human, all the diverse cultures of the world respond with 10,000 different voices. Distinct cultures represent unique visions of life itself, morally inspired and inherently right. And those different voices become part of the overall repertoire of humanity for coping with challenges confronting us in the future. As we drift toward a blandly amorphous, generic world, as cultures disappear and life becomes more uniform, we as a people and a species, and Earth itself, will be deeply impoverished.

This is a key point. There's a tendency for those of us in the dominant Western culture to view traditional people—even when we're sympathetic to their plight—as quaint and colorful, but reduced to the sidelines of history, while the real world, which of course is our world, continues moving forward. We see these societies as failed attempts at modernity, as if they're destined to fade away by some natural law, as if they can't cope with change. That's simply not true. Change is the one constant in history. All societies in all times and in all places constantly adapt to new possibilities for life. It's not change per se that threatens the integrity of the ethnosphere, nor is it technology. The Sioux Indian did not stop being a Sioux when he gave up a bow and arrow, any more than an American farmer stopped being an American when he gave up the horse and buggy.

It's neither change nor technology that threatens the integrity of the ethnosphere. It is power—the crude face of domination. In every instance, these societies are not failed attempts of modernity. They're not archaic, destined to fade away. They are dynamic, living, vital cultures that are being driven out of existence by identifiable external forces. Whether it is diseases that have come into the homeland of the Yanomami in Brazil, or the fact that the Ogoni in the Niger Delta find their once-fertile soils poisoned by effluent from the petroleum industry, or whether in Sarawak the forest homelands of the Penan have been destroyed, there is always an identifiable element. This is both discouraging and encouraging, for if human beings are agents of cultural destruction, we can also be facilitators of cultural survival.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

At the Beehive Cheese Factory

Local Beehive Cheese has hit primetime! Recently Beehive Cheese has been featured on Good Morning America and interviewed by Forbes magazine.

Here's a short clip of Beehive's Barely Buzzed (coffee-lavendar rubbed cheese) on Good Morning America!

I reposted this tour I took of their factory and wanted you to see how they make cheeses.

These guys are a true family-run tender-loving-care operation. They dote on their cheeses (play opera when they stir the milk right before it seperates into whey and curd) and are very inventive with their cheeses. Tim and Pat are always traveling to artisan cheesemakers all over.... the northwest and even in Europe to learn more about the craft.

Check out this link.

Journey of the Squeaky Cheese.

After the milk is collected and heated, rennet and bacteria are added... we get this lovely custard-like mass of 500 gallons of milk.... It's soft as silk and smells good enough to eat!!




CUTTING THE CHEESE (no odorous smell involved.)




Sunday, May 25, 2008

GET on the ARK
Make a meal and help save an endangered food

Check out this list of endangered foods on the Slow Food USA Webstite called the ARK of taste:

I've created a seperate Website to document my friend's adventures finding, harvesting, cooking and eating cherished foods from the ARK of taste Website: Get on the ARK.

This root beer is an example of an "endangered taste" -a hand-crafted brew made in Polson, Montana using roots and barks. YUM.
Care about Food Diversity
Endangered Foods
CROP Diversity Matters

This summer I'm planning a dinner with my new friends in Oregon. I'll be cooking up something like a PILGRIM GOOSE (a farm nearby raises them) and stuffing it with something from a list of endangered foods (not endangered animals!) And I may make a home-brewed rootbeer made by ingredients I forage for in the woods: roots, barks and herbs (like wintergreen, dandelion root, anise).

Join me!!
A CHALLENGE TO ALL YE FOODIE FRIENDS: Want to get published and help preserve an endangered food at the same time?

I'm doing it for a folklore project on food and as a way of increasing awareness of food diversity. Did you know that 93 percent of North American food product diversity has been lost since 1900?

Here's what you do:

Check out this list of endangered foods on the Slow Food USA Webstite called the ARK of taste:

1) Find a food from this list of endangered foods that looks appealing to gather, harvest or cook (I know you're just dying to make Southern Louisianna Hog Head or a pesto with Shagbark Hickory Nut).

2)Send me an email with ideas of what foods you might choose and plan a dinner to be held before Sept 1st.

3) Document the journey (getting the food, preparing the food, eating the food with friends, etc.)

4) Send me your story and I'll archive it in my folklore project and publish it (with your permission.) Video is also welcome!

5) If you want to go wild and invent a recipe that would be even better.

If you're a teacher consider making it a class project. If you're a writer, write about your adventure and pitch it to a magazine.

EXTRA INCENTIVE!! For the top story with photos, I plan to offer a gift basket of tasty artisan foods donated by various food artisans.

Southern Utahns: Maybe you can find some of those Capital Reef Apples and make a pie or something?

Desert dwellers: How about picking some Tuscon-native desert Oregano and making something yummy with it

Alaskanites: There's a cool Alaskan Birch Syrup... a sweet and creamy syrup that I guess you can find in your neck of the woods.

We Were Vegetables: By Hans Lou 1

Please join me!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

She keeps coming back in a blood-thirty lust for animal flesh!

Life as a vegetarian for 2 days shy of 2 weeks

I'm pathetic- so much for trying to stay off meat for a month. I almost made it two weeks without any meat and . . I crumbled. Yesterday I hit a wall. I thought I'd been eating enough protein, made a smoothie with peanut butter and cashews. Ate wild rice, beans. It wasn't enough. I drove around in a stupor and all I could think about was how hungry I was. I stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant and bought some spring rolls with shrimp. That satisfied for me for awhile, but an hour later I was hungry again.

I ate some bread with peanut butter when I arrived home and had some fruit too.

I've been making these smoothies with yummy stuff, this one was REALLY good. I made it with cashews, dates, soy milk, sea salt, a bananna, and some raw sugar.

Today I thought maybe the worst was over. I blended Tofu into my smoothie, ate more nuts, etc. Around 2 o'clock I was feeling strange. Felt a little zombie like, picture one of those people in Night of the Living Dead. Am I destined to wander this earth like a zombie in search for flesh and blood to devour? Am I destined to be a carnivore? It's little discouraging. Around 5 'o clock I ran out the door and to the co-op where I got a container of (certified humane) chicken and pork cooked up in a savory sauce and I downed the thing. About half an hour later I felt back to normal.

I feel a little sad. Here's the thing. I need to know more about what to REPLACE the meat with before I just go COLD TURKEY (no pun intended.) Tonight my roommate suggested Quinoa (pronounced Keen Wah) She said it's very high in protein. And that the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids, esp the amino acid lysine. Here's some nutritional info about Quinoa.

from the PETA Website.
I'm not sure I want to be a vegetarian, but I'm willing to give it another shot. There is a great deal of research that this lifestyle leads to longer-term health... lower risk of heart disease and cancer.

But I want to do my research, buy the right kinds of food and try this again.

Here's a photo of me cooking a lobster in Maine.

I must confess, I'm coming to the conclusion that I may be one of those people who want to "be kind to animals while they are alive, then eat them when they are dead."

The truth is the other reason I'd rather not give up meat is because it tastes soo good. I can't imagine giving up crab, lobster, scallops or oysters. There's nothing like a perfectly cooked pork chop, a savory lamb shank that falls off the bone or a rack of ribs slow-cooked, spicy and sweet and I don't know if I want to live without that smell of roast cooking in the crock pot with onions, potatoes and carrots. Don't know if I want to give that up just yet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Affection for Livestock

Jonathan Bryan and his pig Ruthann during the Junior Livestock Auction at the San Diego County Fair, courtesy of HAYNE PALMOUR IV staff photographer at the North County Times

At the ripe age of 23, when I was a roving reporter at the Preston Citizen (the same town that inspired the film Napolean Dynamite) I wrote a cute lil' story about some kids at a local livestock auction who had grown attached to their animals after raising them in 4-H. It's an interesting counterpoint to the last post, where I discuss the glaring issue of KNOWING where your beef (or even chicken, turkey and pork) comes from may give you the assurance of knowing that what you're eating was treated humanely while it lived.
Is that important to you?

Image from the Internet:

Kids Say Goodbye to Loveable Livestock
By myself as a staff writer for the Preston Citizen

Dusty Kids in Wranglers and cowboy boots with sunburnt faces and wind-blown hair said their last goodbyes to their cows, pigs and lambs at the Preson Country Fair on Friday night.

But eleven year old Adam Swann wasn't ready to say goodbye to his friendly bucket cow Big Red. Adam was planning on sleeping overnight at the fairgrounds with his cow before they took him away, but the man who bought Big Red had to leave town, so he took the cow earlier than planned.

"Adam asked where his cow was," Adam's Dad Lyle, said. "So I told him, and he was just broken-hearted. He didn't get to sleep until 11 p.m. and it was out of exhaustion."

Adam said it was hard to let Big Red go because he had become a friend.

"He'd put his nose up to me. He didn't care if I put my arms around his neck and hugged him or kinda leaned against him if I was tired," said Adam.

"Everywhere he went, the cow went with him," said Lyle.

Christie Owen, who won Reserve Champion with her steer, Dusty, said she'd been working with her cow all summer. Owen spent time Thursday hair-spraying and combing her cow's hair for the upcoming auction where Dusty would be showcased as one of the finest to bid on.

"His hair won't go right," said Owen, brushing the bovine's hair between its ears into a kind of mohawk. Not only was Dusty's hair stubborn, but he was stubborn too.

"He was either kicking me or licking me," said Owen.

Buckey J McKay, 14, had raised his steer Wild Thing since its mother was killed when the calf was two weeks old.

"He's the tamest pet," said McKay. "He will follow you around and eat right out of your hand." Wild Thing ate anything he could find including paper and sometimes, said McKay, the cow was cannabalistic, eating hamburgers that McKay fed him.

"It wasn't too sad giving him up," he said. "What you gonna do with a 1200 lb. steer hanging around?" McKay took second place in showmanship with Wild Thing.

Shauna Jepsen, 11, changed her 250 lb. pink pig's name from Wilbur to Mike Tyson the day she took him to the fair and put him in a pen with the other pigs.

"He got into many fights with every pig he could find," said Jepsen. The pig has a split-personality: soft-hearted Wilbur at home, but a fighter in public.

"They think he is just trying to protect me," she explained. "He is gentle at the house. You could rub his belly and he would roll over like a dog."

The pig was auctioned off Friday night and Shauna had to say Goodbye to her friend. Now, when she gets homesick for Wilbur/Mike Tyson, she pulls out photos of him so she's not so sad.

Stuart Parkinson, extension agent for Franklin County who has seen some of the children say goodbye explains it this way:

"Letting go teaches children a valuable lesson. It's when they have to walk away (from their animals) that they learn about life, about attachment and how to deal with sadness."

QUESTION OF THE HOUR: Is is RIGHT to eat something that has the capacity of forming attachments with humans? Is it right to kill an animal that could potentially become a pet? Even as I ask it, I realize that's a selfish question, one that looks at animals only through the lense of how USEFUL they are to humans, whether as pets or as food. PETA calls it murder. I grew up eating elk meat and didn't really think about it much. I grew up actually seeing a dead elk hanging from the shed in the backyard. It was gross, but part of the hunting experience so it felt normal. My father was a carpenter and I had 6 siblings, so bagging an elk every year was a nine-mouthed necessity. I didn't see it as sport hunting. It wasn't a trivial thing to us, nor to my Dad. My sister Cara hunts now.

For me, there's a difference between eating animals from a feedlot and elk or wild game. I feel better about eating something that comes from the wild. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for the span of that creature's life, it roamed free in the woods eating forest plants and grasses and I imagine, not suffering much. Whereas, these poor fat cows trapped in feedlots on industrial farms seem to live a life entirely devoted to suffering just so we can do lots of of marinating and grilling in the summer, dust off the old BBQ and get fat on ribs and perfectly cooked steaks. What do you think? It's hard to argue that by and large most cows on industrial cows are miserable. Maybe you should consider buying your meat from a place like Prather Ranch that's become cerified in humane treatment of livestock.
Wind Serpent

Go VEG for a week for World Vegetarian Week

Monday, May 19, 2008

Whip 'em, ship 'em, bleed 'em and eat 'em
A not-so-romantic view of Oregon. . . or Livestock Auction: Reason #1 why I'm considering becoming a vegetarian

On my way to Eugene yesterday, I pulled over to this cafe that ADJOINS a livestock auction. The sign said "LOCAL BEEF."

So in one door, you're right where the auctioneer and the cattle are parading around and through another door is the restaurant.

Manure, Moaning Cows and Marionberry Pie
The Cafe was full of old cowboys and fat ladies with 80's hairdos. The owner was a woman wearing too much make-up who kept calling me "sweetheart." I sat on a stool by the bar considering if I should order some marionberry cobbler when I stepped on something that looked like turf/manure. Turf/manure speckled the entire floor. You could hear the faint noises of the auctioneer and possibly if you listened closely enough, moaning cattle being beaten into submission. How's that for AMBIANCE? I bought a cookie wrapped in plastic and left. I couldn't bring myself to eat it.

Here's the place, check it out!

I asked the owner about the "local beef" and she said..."I don't do that anymore." So apparantly, the sign on the Cafe was WRONG.

They don't serve hamburgers with the meat from the deranged cows out back. Good thing, right? The farther away from the battle-scarred, prodded, whipped, freaked-out cow, the better. I can say this with authority because afterwards my curiousity got the better of me and I went around to the corrals at the back where cows were herded through stalls and into a place where they were auctioned off.

Of course, the smell of manure is always a welcome thing since it reminded me of growing up in Idaho (really, I'm not kidding.)

I flipped on my video camera and got a little footage of a gestapo-like guy (I'm not exaggerating this) smacking cows with a whip and calling them filthy names ..... "you stupic b*&&*, you MF, you....bleepity bleep"... and snarling. It kind of freaked me out actually. My blood pressure rose and I kept trying to film it but my digital camera card memory was OUT. I did get a little footage, though you can't hear the words. The cowboy wielding the whip was scrawny with a sweat-drenched white shirt and a shaved head. His hair was buzzed short, but in spots, splotches of white scalp shown. He looked as beat-up as the cows.

I'll add the video to this thing later it won't give you the affect it gave me, but on some level it feels wrong. Wrong that we treat animals this way. Wrong that we "expect" that it's just "part of the life," said the guy who was herding the cattle. Sure, I have NO idea what it's like to herd cattle. I'm not cut out for it.

The video, is sadly not much of an expose due to my pathetic digital camera.

One of my friends lives on a ranch in Montana and her husband herds bison. She said it's a nasty terribly dangerous job. One of the bison kicked him in the face and almost shattered his skull. Is it possible that these guys are just fighting for their lives. It felt like the cowboy was and the cattle was as well.

Here's what I came to: animal abuse, is it the rule or the exception to the rule? It was horrible watching. And I don't think I'm being overly-sentimental about the cow. But I wish this kind of tension didn't exist in our food system. Should it? Is it possible that the steaks and burgers we love to stuff our faces came from mostly sick, stressed out, stinky, abused cows? I don't blame the cowboy or the rancher. I don't. I blaim our obese beef-obsessed culture for our greed for flesh at any cost. And I admit that I'm a part of the problem too. Who else is to blame but us beef eaters?

This video footage taken by an animal rights activist and is what created the largest recall of meat by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse that provided meat to school lunch programs.

Term to know- Downer Cows: A live cow that can't walk because it's sick or injured.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Shasta City Market of Carnage

How do you know where your beef has come from? Where do you go to find good beef from cows that have been treated humanly? Any ideas?

When I was traveling through northern California last month, in the shadow of Mt Shasta, not far from a Stewart Springs where the locals come to gab about politicals sitting naked in a Turkish style sauna, I found the town of Shasta City.

At some unholy hour of the morning, I stopped by the grocery market before it was open. I was enroute to visit my family in Cali and had pooped out and slept the night in my car parked along some street. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed three guys (boogie men from my nightmare) wearing long white lab coats huddled near the back of the store. It looked really suspicious. I noticed they pulled some kind of fleshy red carcass from a big white van, so I kind of slunk down in my seat then heard the sound of a chainsaw. I felt like I was an extra in some slasher movie. I wanted to duck and run, like the woman from this 80's Boogie Man film. Those of you who know me well can easily imagine me as a sleep-deprived woman running around Shasta City like this:

The crime scene

A closer-up shot

The instrument of evisceration


Come to find out, this early arrival of beef freshly cut right out the back door of the market -though a bizarre sight to a travel-weary visitor- was a GOOD thing. This meat came from Prather Ranch, who after researching, I discovered is one of the first retailers to become "HUMANE CERTIFIED." A designation by the Humane Farm Care organization.

Click on the link because it will give you an answer to the question: Where can I buy meat that I know came from humanely treated animals?

May 11, 2006 – Prather Ranch Meat Company, a retailer of organic, sustainably produced, pasture-raised beef, buffalo, pork, lamb and vitellone located at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza, is the first retailer in the Bay Area to be "Certified Humane." It follows New York retailer, D'Agostino, becoming the second U.S. retailer to commit to selling products that have been "Certified Humane" by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), the Virginia-based non-profit organization that certifies humane treatment of farm animals.

No synthetic herbicides and pesticides have been applied to feed crops for a minimum of three years. The majority of feed consumed is grazed forage from our pastures. We finish our cattle on a diet of organic hay, organic barley and organic rice.
Prather Ranch

The cattle drink pure mountain spring water that is routinely tested for the presence of non-indigenous trace elements.

Interesting sidenote: Prather Ranch is ALSO known for genetically engineering cows to be more tender... can they do this for the males species in general? What do you think?

Cows with Tender Genes

Press release:
Prather Ranch, in its never-ending commitment to provide their customers with the most tender and tasty beef on the market today, has implemented the use of new technology available in the beef industry. The ranch began DNA testing in 2004, using GeneSTAR tests for the tenderness gene marker in their herd sires. Those bulls that test positive for the tenderness trait are retained in the herd as breeding stock. Their offspring are more likely to produce meat that will be tender. This test has been validated by the National Cattle Beef Evaluation Consortium.

In order to evaluate meat tenderness, the GeneSTAR Tenderness evaluates the genes of Calpain and Calpastatin. Prior to this test, bulls were evaluated by their ability to produce offspring that had the characteristics of tender meat. This process included following their offspring that possessed the characteristics of tender meat. This process included following their offspring through the life cycle which would take a period of years. The GeneSTAR test allows for selecting sires that already carry these positive gene markers.
Where have all the cheap eggs gone?

The Price of EGGS is crazy. It's hard to believe that eggs have gone up in price almost double it seems, just in the last 6 months.

Here's a cool sign at farmer's market enroute to Corvallis.

In the News

Rising Food costs affect Obesity in the Poor

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Paradise Found
Oregon: Land of Milk and Honey

Flowers in Bloom This is someone's yard and it felt like heaven.

Ripe Veggies

Why I'm living in Oregon for the summer

For those of you who weren't aware, I just moved to Oregon for the summer. I'm going to stay until blackberry season at least and may stay longer or move to Portland if I can find that dream job (or one that will offer insurance and a steady paycheck... I'm a little tired of freelance writing).

A few things I love about this area:

It gets dark at night. I don't miss the artificial lights of the city. Tonight I hung my clothes by moonlight in my backyard (I know, they'll have dew all over them in the morning... but I'll take them off in the afternoon.)

I love the markets. There's this great little co-op that has 1200 local foods

a cool little buffet that has gourmet meals you can buy per pound, a bulk section and unusual local foods like dried seaweed

And my favorite new icecream called Coconut Bliss.

They seem to care more about the environment here. Many people bike everywhere. The air is clean and smells like lilacs, it's so refreshing. This co-op does some great sustainable things like have a composting bin onsite and a place where you can throw your plastic so it can be re-used I LOVE THIS.

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People are more carefree here

What I could live without
Sometimes, I must admit, the hippie thing does wear on me. Where did all of these people come from? Some guy yesterday was wearing a tie-dyed skirt and was playing a long-necked lute thing? What's that? A Sitar? Why does he play it and where did he get it? My roommate likes to call these people the term Trustafarians.

But I do like the fact that people can get away with walking around barefoot, wearing flower wreaths on their heads and talking about things like the fairies that live in their attics.

A couple at a folk festival in Eugene earlier today.

Below: A woman at the May Day festival at a Waldorf school. The school is situated between several farmer's markets along one of the back highways.

I can drive along a few routes and find farm-fresh produce. This market north of town.

I stopped here on the first day it was open and bought some artichokes, rhubarb, lettuce and radishes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Store Wars. . . starring Cuke Skywalker and Obi One Canola
From free range studios

May the Farm be With You!

This has been around awhile, but it's the first time I've seen it!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Linda Colwell, Slow Food- Portland
What We've Lost - As Eaters
Did you know that 93 percent of North American food product diversity has been lost since 1900?

Linda Colwell recently spoke at a lecture in the Ag Sciences building in Corvallis Oregon. She's a chef, writer and consultant in food, farms, and school-garden education. She founded the Garden of Wonders school-garden project and the scratch kitchen at Abernethy Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. Check out an article she wrote in Culinate about garden education programs with public schools.

Notes from her lecture:

#1. "We've lost our ability to walk into our yards or into a market and harvest things from a source that we know.... food that has integrity."

Linda says that we're trained culturally to cook with our noses in a cookbook rather than following our instincts, which she thinks is a shame. "We have a whole industry around cookbooks," She says, adding that people need to trust their instincts, get in touch with their senses and just rethink the meal. "Opening a CSA box (full of veggies and fruit) is no different than opening a cookbook."

#2. "We've lost our skill at being adventurous around flavors and being willing to let something unexpected happen on the table."

"A perfectly cooked egg is truly amazing especially if it's 36 hours fresh from the hen."

Linda Colwell and OSU professor James Cassidy.

#3. Linda said it's not that we've lost our ability to cook, but our ability to taste. "We don't know how to taste anymore"

She says that most of us have become deficient in a seasonal way and in a nutritional way.

#4."We've lost our ability to understand the nuances of fruits or vegetables through the seasons."

#5 We've lost the biodiversity of our food products.

Linda talked about something called the Ark of Taste, foods, that the Slow Food movement has identified are at risk of dying out including traditional sea salt from Hawaii, a marbled chinook salmon

and a fruit called a pawpaw that is the "largest edible fruit native to the US."

All photos taken of Deep Run Pawpaw Orchard, owned & managed by Jim Davis of Westminster, MD.

And according to the Slow Food USA site:
The fruit is indigenous to 26 states from northern Florida to Maine and west to Nebraska. Fossil records indicate that the papaw’s forebears established themselves in North America millions of years before the arrival of humans. American Indians extensively used the pawpaw and introduced it to European explorers. As a much loved fruit, European settlers named towns, creeks, and islands after the pawpaw. Today, pawpaws are primarily eaten in very rural areas, and most Americans only know of the fruit from the traditional folk song, "'Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch."

Slow Food's Ark of Taste aims to rediscover and catalogue forgotten flavors, documenting excellent food products that are in danger of disappearing. Since the international initiative began in 1996, more than 750 products from dozens of countries worldwide have been added to the international Ark of Taste. The Ark of Taste is a resource for those interested in learning about and reviving rare regional foods–from Buckeye chickens to Ivis White Cream sweet potatoes, Alaskan Birch syrup to Greanthread tea.
-Slow Food USA Website

#6 We've lost our integration with the land and our relationships to the food systems developed and practiced when we lived close to the land as indigenous people.

She spoke about foods that are still raised and harvested by cultures that still know how to live integrated with the earth like the Ozette potato that's still harvested today and has been for 300 years by the McCaw Indians.


This month, why not try to procure some of these food and cook a meal with them, or procure the seeds and plant them.

Anyone up for the challenge?? I'll let you know how my SLOW FOOD dinner goes as I revive some of these foods in a meal.

Monday, May 05, 2008


My dinners have resumed in Oregon. Jen and I made spaghetti for a few friends.

A few things I love to add to spaghetti sauce:

1. Butter (everything is better with butter!)
2. Fresh olives (not the cheap canned one)
3. Fresh basil and oregano
4. Garden tomatoes (hand-crushed)
5. Balsamic vinegar

And it helps to listen to Miles Davis while cooking

Making Spaghetti using the "massage the tomato" method though some call it a desecration of the tomato, I feel it's the ONLY way to make fresh spaghetti sauce. If your tomatoes aren't ripe enough to smush, then maybe you ought to make some alfredo. Video requires you to turn your laptop on its side or krink your neck- sorry!

Speaking of upside down things (like my upside down video). . .

For dessert, I made a pineapple upside down cake and I made it all wrong, more like a Pineapple Inside Out Cake, but it was still pretty tasty. I also subbed the white sugar with raw sugar. I liked this recipe, it smelled and tasted like dutch oven cobbler.

I put the pineapples on the top accidently, then threw on the runny brown sugar, butter sauce over the top and realized the pineapples were supposed to be on the BOTTOM- whoops! To get it upside down your supposed to flip it AFTER you cook it.

Trying to remedy my mistake, I found another baking pan and flipped the cake upside down while still in the batter phase. My friend Todd called it a "Pineapple inside-out Cake." But I liked the effect of flipping it. What happened was that goey sweet carmel stuff ran not just on one side of the cake, but on the edges too, which made it even yummier.

I didn't cook it in a skillet as the recipe asked. Here's what it looked like. Not pretty, really, but tasty.

The pineapple was upside down twice.
First off, I bought the pineapple in Ashland at Harry and Davids. It was a wonderful juicy thing.

Fruit Tip:The guy in the produce told me to cut off the stems the day before I served it and turn it upside down in my fridge, that way all the fruit sugar would run down through the pineapple.

I used this recipe from Gourmet, Feb 2000

For topping
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
For batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake
Special equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make topping:
Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.

Make batter:
Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.

How to Fight Global Warming at Dinner

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization REPORTS that the meat industry is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, through fertilizer use, animal manure and the energy required to transport food and meat.